Reviews of Books


“Russell happily sets up a “Paleoterrific” primitive utopia and then allows the gritty reality of dying young and the discomfort of conforming to social norms in a small community to wear away at an eco-friendly life with nature. Big cats may mentally howl “I love you,” but they still want to eat you.” Publishers Weekly

“Is there anything Sharman Apt Russell cannot do on the printed page? A triumph of the imagination; a brilliant and mesmerizing addition to the sci-fi canon.” —JJ Amaworo Wilson, author of Damnificados

“In classic science fiction style, Russell presents a devastated world reformed into a seeming paleolithic paradise… [a] suspenseful and gripping tale” —William Seager, author of Natural Fabrications: Science, Emergence and Consciousness

“Like Ursula K. Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson, Sharman Apt Russell tells stories of human reorientation within a radically reanimated world… an urgent story that immerses the reader in the agonizing entanglements and wonders of being.” —Gib Prettyman, Resources for American Literary Study

“Sharman Apt Russell’s vibrant new novel will enthrall readers with its vision of a future in which animism, panpsychism and hard science come together to show us how the forces shaping consciousness and the universe are one and the same.” —Imre Szeman, co-author of After Globalization

“Russell’s intelligence and imagination shine.” —Eric C. Otto, author of Green Speculations: Science Fiction and Transformative Environmentalism

“An intriguing and compelling tale of humanity struggling to recover its indigenous allegiance to Earth and Earth Law despite the genie of physical science having well and truly escaped from the bottle.” —Freya Matthews, author of For Love of Matter: a Contemporary Panpsychism

“A voice keenly in tune with the discourses of science, ecology, rhetoric, and spirituality… Russell’s vision of tomorrow imagines sobering consequences – and pathways to possible solutions – to the crises we face today. –Michael R. Page, author of Frederik Pohl

“A dazzling and hallucinatory myth…Beautifully written and vertiginous–Castaneda jacked into the Matrix, Einstein crunching numbers on the walls of Lascaux, a druid with a sickle and a laptop.”—Andrew Todhunter, author of A Meal Observed and Dangerous Games

“Russell has a knack for fast-paced action and poetic turns of phrase, and readers will turn the pages quickly so they can follow along with the adventures of Brad, Clare, Dog, and Luke as they journey through this new world. Fans of post-apocalyptic science fiction will find this a wild and enjoyable ride.”–Stephanie Vie, author of (E)-Dentity

“What a great read! Bringing back the animals—and reminding us of animal powers and minds—is an important message for the here and now. An engaging –and thoughtfully-informed– post-apocalyptic novel that stays with you for weeks afterward. Sharman Russell has a clever and also provocative imagination that leads the reader into deep reflection on who we are and who we might become.” Margaret Conkey, author of Ancient Goddesses: the Myths and Evidence and editor of Engendering Archaeology: Women and Prehistory

“With compelling characters, a driving rhythm, and a rich plot, the novel smoothly navigates between the principles of biology and physics, the mystique of animism, the politics of posthumanism, and the tropes of science fiction.”–Keren Omry, Science Fiction Research Association

“She’s earned a spot next to Margaret Atwood and Daniel Quinn for sparking readers to reflect on the tensions between the natural environment and our ever-evolving technology.” Sean Murray, author of Composition Incorporated: Turbo Capitalism, Higher Education, and the Teaching of Writing

“Russell’s implementation of panpsychist theory brings this book to life as one of the most extraordinary sci-fis of our time… –‐ Jack Symes, author of “In Defense of Strong Emergentist Panpsychism”

“A syncretic approach where hard science and the hard problem of consciousness merge into a welcome addition to the science fiction canon. What’s more, this is a piece of storytelling at its best!” John M. Gist, co-author of Angst and Evolution: The Struggle for Human Potential, author of Lizard Dreaming of Birds.

“A gripping read—I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end! Sharman Russell knows how to pay tribute to the great traditions of science fiction storytelling—and how to make them new for the twenty-first century.” Lisa Yaszek, author of Galactic Suburbia

“Russell’s novel remains steadfastly optimistic. A refreshing alternative to near-future dystopias, she offers a glimpse of a ‘future primitive’ in which people live more sustainably and equitably, sustained by a sense of wonder when nature turns out to have been panpsychic all along.” —Melody Jue, author of “Vampire Squid Media”


New Mexico Book Award finalist and one of Booklists’ top ten religious books of 2008

“A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“The uniqueness of this book… lies less in its lyrical passages – which sometimes evoke the early Annie Dillard – than in its concise and readable summaries of pantheistic thought, especially that of Marcus Aurelius, Giordano Bruno, Baruch Spinoza and Walt Whitman. Russell’s faith is all-embracing but unsentimental.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Russell has written discerning and poetic books about butterflies, flowers, and hunger. She now breaks new ground in this spiraling history of pantheism, an essential if overlooked tributary to the great river of spirituality. Russell defines pantheism as ‘the belief that the universe, with all its existing laws and properties, is an interconnected whole that we can rightly consider sacred’. Accordingly, the structure of this meditative and gracefully informative book embodies interconnectivity. Russell presents fresh and affecting profiles of key figures in the evolution of pantheism, such as Marcus Aurelius, Giordano Bruno, Baruch Spinoza, and Walt Whitman, and chronicles her own revelatory experiences in Guatemala, India, and her home base, New Mexico’s Gila Valley, where she observes sandhill cranes and javelinas and helps band birds. As she tracks the profound influence pantheism has had on diverse religions, deep ecology, the romantic poets, and the transcendentalists, Russell recounts her decision to become a Quaker and her realization that is she, at heart, a ‘scientific pantheist.’ Ultimately, Russell’s probing and illuminating inquiry into pantheism renews our appreciation for the complexity and wonder of life. Rhapsodic and expansive, this is a timely and salutary inquiry”
— Starred review in Booklist, named one of top ten religious books of 2008


“[An] elegant meditation… Ms. Apt Russell scoops every morsel of interest from her subject. She also writes beautifully. Not surprisingly, this produces a feast.”
— The Economist

“Russell’s writing is luminous.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“This is a fascinating, gentle, and quite disturbing book…a tender and remarkable attempt to bring about an imaginative understanding of the poverty we would all like to make history. It is a book which should be read.”
— The Tablet

“Fascinating… This rather grim subject comes to seem profound, thanks to Russell’s ruminative prose style and keen intelligence.”
— The Guardian

“This book is a sensitive work that both informs and calls to action. It shows a deepening and expansion of Russell’s work as she examines, in part, what it means for us to be human.”
— New Mexico Magazine

“Extraordinarily well-crafted, far-reaching, and heart-wrenching investigation.”
— Booklist (starred review)


“A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.”
— San Diego Union Tribune

“A masterpiece of storytelling.”
— Seattle Times

“Russell’s skill as a writer is the alchemical goal that lifts this already intriguing compendium of facts to the level of art.”
— Bloomsbury Review

“Russell has done a wonderful job of gathering up bits of lore to brighten up her account…all of which makes for fascinating reading.”
— The Economist


— Discover

“With the allure of a poet and the clarity of a scientist… Russell contemplates the beauty and function of flowers.”
— Boston Herald

— Globe and Mail

“A luminous blend of memoir, botany lesson, and history of science. Like a guided walking tour in a field of wildflowers on a splendid summer day.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Every page holds a revelation.”
— Sunday Times (London)


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